Preschool children have impressive development both physical, intellectually, exercise, and eating habits. Children at this age begin to show independence, eager to learn and explore the world around them. At the same time, children also appeared to imitate adult behaviors, including eating habits. Therefore, building and taking care of a reasonable diet for children help children have healthy habits, providing adequate nutrients for the development process.
1. The role of proper nutrition for preschool children
If children from the age of 1 to 3 will begin to learn and be curious about everything and things around them, when they pass this age, they already know how to discover things on their own, constantly asking why. Adults. At this stage, children begin to form eating habits, dishes, the quantity of food… Therefore, if children are not well cared for by their parents in terms of nutrition, it can lead to children having many problems. related to health, nutritional status, and development both physically and intellectually:
- Malnutrition is known as the lack of nutrients such as energy, protein, or important micronutrients, causing a significant impact on the development of children. This condition is very common in preschool children if not well taken care of.
- Overweight obesity is the opposite of undernutrition, but it is also a disease caused by the fact that the energy provided is more than the energy expended, causing the process of fat accumulation in the body to exceed the normal level. This condition is quite common among children living in urban areas and causes many adverse effects on children’s health.
- Anorexia can be caused by many reasons such as illness, food that is not in the child’s preferences, the influence of drugs, or psychological …
Proper nutrition care for preschool children will help children develop well physically, and intellectually and form good eating habits for children during later years.
2. Requirements of nutrients for preschool children
Nutrition for children in preschool should be ensured according to the recommended needs. For preschool children, the average recommended energy requirement ranges from 1230 kcal to 1320 kcal in a day. The proportion of carbohydrates accounts for 52% to 60%, protein accounts for about 13% to 20%, and fat accounts for 25% to 35% of the total daily energy intake.
According to the nutritional recommendations for preschool children, the daily menu should provide a full range of nutrients from different foods, including Carbohydrates can be provided from 3 to 4 cups of rice or porridge or similar dishes. Protein can include about 120 grams to 150 grams of meat, fish eggs, shrimp, and crabs… Fat includes 30 grams of oil, fat, butter… Fruits and vegetables are about 300 grams. Vitamins and minerals vitamin A 1000 IU, vitamin D 400ID, calcium 500mg…
In addition to nutritional care for preschool children, parents also need to encourage children to participate in appropriate sports activities to help children have the ability to develop better in weight and height. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), children at this age need moderate or higher intensity physical activity with sports such as swimming, walking and running… at least 60 minutes a day.
3. Principles of building a reasonable diet and food preparation for preschool children
The nutrition of preschool children can have a great influence on the development as well as eating habits of children in later years. Therefore, building a daily menu for preschoolers needs a lot of attention from parents and learning more knowledge about this issue. Principles of building a reasonable diet for preschool children should ensure:
- The food rations must provide enough energy for children every day so that they can participate in all activities from living, and studying to playing. To ensure this principle, parents need to provide a balance of basic substances including protein, glucose, lipid, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
- The diet of preschool children needs to be varied every day to help stimulate the child’s appetite and help them eat more and more deliciously. Therefore, parents need to know information about food groups and food alternatives in the same group or at the same level of the nutrition pyramid to diversify children’s meals.
- Develop seasonal servings that match your child’s preferences. For example, in the summer, priority should be given to adding water-rich dishes, purifying the body such as fruit juices, fruits… In winter, parents can add fried and stewed dishes. Parents should prioritize using seasonal foods to ensure variety, nutrients, and especially issues related to food hygiene and safety.
- Knowledgeable parents will help choose safe food for children. Because the digestive system of children at this age is still sensitive to the harmful effects of the environment, parents need to choose fresh, clean foods that do not contain pesticides to avoid harm to health.
4. Food should and should not be used for preschool children
Preschool children are at the age of rapid development both intellectually and physically, parents need to pay a lot of attention to choosing food and monitoring the child’s eating process.
Some foods that should be used for preschool children:
Milk and food products are made from milk. A child needs to ensure 4 units of milk a day, which may include liquid milk, yogurt, cheese, and whey… to help supplement calcium and other nutrients for the child’s body.
Vegetables and fruits provide the recommended amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for children. Most children at this age are quite lazy to eat vegetables, so parents need to be flexible in processing and create all conditions so that children can use vegetables comfortably.
Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as vegetable oil, olive oil, butter, and cheese… to help children develop more comprehensive brains.
Some foods should not be used for preschool children:
- Carbonated drinks and foods high in sugar can cause children to gain weight uncontrollably and also have dental diseases.
- Fast foods, fried foods with a lot of fat…
- Foods that are too hard such as corn, sugar cane, and hard candy nuts can affect children’s teeth.
5. Notes when taking care of nutrition for preschool children
In addition to building a reasonable diet for children to help them be provided with adequate nutrients, parents also need to know to supplement important micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, etc… Because lack of one of these micronutrients can affect the health of children:
- Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry eyes, dry skin, fear of sunlight, growth retardation, cough, or runny nose…
- Vitamin D deficiency will cause children to slow down in height growth and affect sleep.
- A lack of vitamin C will make the baby’s skin dry, and easy to bleed. bleeding tooth.
- Iron deficiency can lead to iron deficiency anemia, crying children, poor concentration when studying, and not sleeping well.
Thus, parents need to pay attention to the proper nutrition for preschool children. The full edition of 4 important groups of substances will help children develop to their maximum physically and mentally. In case the diet cannot provide enough vitamins, you can take additional supplements as prescribed by your doctor to ensure a healthy digestive system.